“Allen x Ryland,” part 8 [end]

Wherein we reach the conclusion of this short story. Note how I phrased that. The 6055 words of parts 1-8 were from a glimpse of something I had at church three weeks ago. It took about five days to write it all down. Once complete, I thought it would be a nice addition to my second short story collection.

Until last Sunday, when another reel started playing in my head. Picking up right where this one ends, with Allen up in his room using his tablet to read Ryland’s bio on the Naval Academy’s page. The next day he’s back at the Galveston base and the following day at his job, doing in port maintenance on TNS Liberty. And that’s only what I’ve seen so far. I do know Allen develops a friendship with another sailor and it is quite possible that the Mexicans, Cubans, or some other power, have slipped a submarine into the Gulf of Mexico to interdict commercial shipping.

Saying all that to say this: thanks for reading along with this short story and look forward to its novella in 2022!

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Fish and Shrimp Radio Waves

The good folks at The Star Chamber were having an open lines night. I was just following along with a few lines to their Chat Room when they foolishly wandered onto a topic I found relatable. After all these months, I would have thought that the host would know to recognize at least my Area Code and block all numbers from there, but no… once again they wagered their reputations on letting go live. The triumph of hope over experience.

I wander in almost exactly at the 1:15:00 mark and babble for about eight minutes. Once off, the hosts try to recover from my verbal Molotov Cocktails. It was fun.

“Allen x Ryland,” part 4

The “x Ryland” part of the title has been off-screen long enough. So I’ll start to fix that here. Any cop comes to understand human nature pretty damned fast as a part of their job and Allen’s father is no different. Sure, it’s possible for broken people to turn around their lives, but most do not.

I had finished the original 6000 words of this short story several days ago. Thinking a little too much about this past Saturday… and hello to an additional 1800 words! This is now definitely headed into “novella” territory and one again I conclude that creative writing is a mental illness.

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New book, in process

Finally settled on a name: Obligations of Rank. Got the copyedit back and just now finished implementing those changes. Rattled the cage of my cover designer to move things from the back burner to front. All in all, coming together nicely.

Wasn’t sure if I needed to add maps to this one and ended up adding two: one of central Kentucky, as that story moves around a bit and I don’t want the readers to get lost. The other is just to illustrate the progress of the Martian terraforming project. I also had to update the stemma as there are just too many family connexions to keep track of.

If all goes well, it should be out for Thanksgiving in the US; the third week of November.

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Cadets, 1/4

Yes, I went dark again. I re-listened to the six chapters of “Foes and Rivals” I recorded to try to get their voices back into my head. Then another movie started playing in my head. That what this is.

Set ten years before the action in my forthcoming novel, “Obligations of Rank,” we have two youngsters in Empress Faustina’s army, on the outskirts of St. Louis. For those who have been following along in the raws I posted of my next novel, this campaign does not end well.

I have DayJob this weekend but am off Monday. Unfortunately a friend asked me to put together a little precis of “creative writing” for, I think, upcoming NaNoWriMo season. So little time…

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Epilogue, 2 of 2

The last of about 68 thousand words of my next novel. What began as just a writing experiment to get to know some of the imperial families better once again took on a life of its own. When these people want a story told, I’ve learned over seven years that I’ve little say in the matter.

I hope everyone has enjoyed seeing this story come in being along with me. Recording audiobooks and making a Machine Civilization wiki are my priorities for this fall but it’s not as if I won’t do a little writing. In fact, late last night I saw this scene where Aurelia, now 29-years-old and the leading general of the imperium looks back at her own life. In disgust. I wonder…

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Epilogue, 1 of 2

The raw MS of “Imperium’s Shadow”* is complete. Here’s the first of the two-part conclusion. Toward my ‘trying something different for each book,’ breaking this story into three has allowed to write three novellas which are held together by their familial relations. Didn’t really see that when I began this writing exercise but in hindsight rather clever of me.

* I have conclusively decided that working title will NOT be on the cover. It implies a darkness which simply does not exist in the story. I’m open to suggestions for those who’ve been following along all these months. Faustina’s Packhorses? Empire’s Children? Empress’ Agents?

I really don’t know right now.

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Midwife

For long time readers, crises do not last long in my stories; part of my terse style or maybe I just want people talking again? Kira lives and once getting herself back in mind lays out to her family and friend where things are going next. Her brother and sister are, I think, taken aback by this and there will likely be a huge argument in coming installments. Laszlo? Between being a demi and under his mother’s thumb I suspect a broad and deep streak of fatalism which could only be described as “Russian.”

I like nurse Green’s little throw-away line about “Viscount Breazeale is my lord.” Something even I struggle with in stories set so far in the future is feudalism. While both RealWorld sides of my family are older than the American Republic, arriving around 1766 and 1739, respectively, they were obviously a cantankerous lot very bloody-minded about setting up a new home away from aristocratic interference. Now, nearly 300 years later, that is discarded for the personal loyalty of a neo-feudal system to demi-humans and machines tasks my imagination sometimes.

I am hoping Les’s concluding words will be the segue to my next podcast – about religion – coming out late Friday or early Saturday. Please everyone have a good weekend!

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Emergent Behavior

August! I swear yesterday was March. I’ve written ahead a bit and hope to keep these MS sketches updates coming. As it is, what remains of my family is off on another vacation in northern Louisiana so I shall devote my time off to try to complete the raw audio for “Foes and Rivals.” Speaking of which, I got my first customer review of “Friend and Ally.” I was, honestly, expecting at best three stars; after all, I am not a professional voice actor and my audio editing skills are that of a novice. So this was a surprise!

Back to the royals in space: not wanting to give the book an ADULT rating, I gloss over Laszlo’s and Nikita’s “moment.” Of more interest, as Les sees, is that now light-minutes away from Earth, android-Reina breaks contact with her greater self. But, as machines think so much faster than humans, her portable form is already… changing. I really wonder what shall become of her.

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Vacuum sucks

A bit more into the characters onboard Lionheart: girls in their underwear and men kissing. I had no idea I was such a degenerate author. As I sus’d from the beginning of this writing project, if I look away for just a moment, Reina will take over the entire story.

In this and what y’all will see later, it is interesting to me that while of the same class (a concept hard for most Heritage Americans) the royals have things they take for granted and things which, being from opposite sides of the Earth, are a complete puzzle to one another.

Additionally, I introduce, still offstage, a new character: Aqua. A Machine from tribe Arpeggio and apparently personally interested in the Martian terraforming project. Why is he?

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